Green lacewings are part of a group of what’s known as “good bugs,” or insects that help keep other pest populations under control. Farmers and gardeners love to use these delicate green insects as a form of natural pest control, making them truly a “green” form of pest elimination.
What Are They?
Green lacewings are an insect from the family Chrysopidae. Lacewings are very common throughout North America and Europe, and are often used as a form of biological pest control.
What Do They Look Like?
Adult green lacewings are delicate green insects, much like their name indicates. They have green or brownish bodies, golden compound eyes, and clear wings with green veins. Their wings can span from 6 to over 65 mm.
During their larvae stage, they are a yellowish-gray or brown color, and are either more slender with a humpbacked appearance, including a prominent bulge on their thorax, or are plump with long bristles growing out of their sides, which collect debris to help camouflage them from birds. Lacewing larvae are a bit smaller than Â½ inch long.
What Do They Do?
Lacewing larvae are often used as a form of biological (or natural) pesticide, as they consume other small pests, including aphids, caterpillars, butterfly eggs, small beetles, leafhoppers, scale insects, thrips, small flies, mites, and other small insects and insect eggs.
As adults, green lacewings are nocturnal insects which feed on pollen, nectar, and honeydew, as well as some smaller insects such as mites and aphids. They can play a vital role in pollenating plants, making them beneficial contributors to your garden.
Where Do They Live?
Green lacewings are common in North America and European countries. They are attracted to certain companion plants and beneficial weeds such as Asteraceae (calliopsis,) sunflowers, cosmos, dandelions, dill, and angelica. Gardeners can naturally attract lacewings by incorporating these plants in their gardens.
What Is Their Life Cycle?
The lifecycle of the green lacewing starts at night, when eggs are deposited on plants, either singularly or in small groups. A single adult female lacewing can produce between 100 and 200 eggs. Eggs are placed in individual stalks, usually on the underside of leaves. The larvae molt immediately after hatching, descending the egg stalk to feed on nearby insects. Lacewing larvae are ferocious killers, consuming just about every suitable sized soft-bodied insect that crosses their path. Larvae are known as “aphid lions,” since aphids make up a large part of their diet.
Larvae take between 1-3 weeks to pupate in a cocoon, depending on the environment. Larvae in colder climates overwinter, although some overwinter as newborn adults. Lacewings live approximately one year.
How To Get Rid of Them
If you don’t want green lacewings in your garden (although they are definitely a beneficial insect), simply don’t grow any of the plants that they are attracted to. If you are bothered by a large population of green lacewings in your yard, you can always call a pest control professional.
About the author: Chris is a blogger for a sacramento pest control company. Last summer he planted his first organic vegetable garden. To keep the pests off his plants he deployed a number of organic techniques to keep his plants healthy.